Supporting roles

Outsourcing is all the rage in the world of events so it is vital for planners to understand event support services.
Supporting roles
By Administrator
Tue 09 Sep 2008 04:00 AM

Outsourcing is all the rage in the world of events so it is vital for planners to understand event support services.

When planning an event it is unlikely you will be doing it all on your own.

Although in terms of profit, it would be nice to think you could write out all the invitations, drive the guests to the venue, fit the rigging for the lights, test the sound system, build the stage, assemble the gifts and hand out the goodie bags at the end of the evening, the reality is you will need some help.

Can they provide the names of three credible destination management companies?

Event support services make their living on the fact it is unlikely you are able to do everything yourself and they range from companies who provide corporate gifts to those who create all the lighting and sound effects. But planners need to know with whom they are entrusting key components of their event.

"Any place with good opportunities will witness an influx of players and Dubai is no exception to this rule and we have seen many companies mushrooming and dying down over the years," says manager business development hospitality Dulsco HR Solutions, Satnam Grover.

Planners should take time to look at the track record of their potential suppliers in order to avoid any nasty surprises, she says "This is routinely done to ensure that suppliers are fully committed to the project and have consistently delivered high-quality services in the past," Grover adds.

The same rule applies even when outsourcing your event through an intermediary, such as an hotel.

Then the client has to establish the "knowledge and experience of the conference services and catering manager who is handling the event," says public relations manager, Fairmont Dubai, Alka Patel.

"Do they anticipate the planner's support services and can they provide the names and contact details of three credible destination management companies that can assist them with transportation needs to arranging group leisure activities?"

Other considerations include how do the support services add value to the event; are their services even viable in the city in which you are staging the event?

Furthermore, Patel suggests it is worth finding out whether or not the conference manager is even comfortable and confident working with external suppliers.

"Do they go that one step further and take care of these support services needs?" she says.

"A good organiser will look for one point of contact to make all these arrangements from airport transfers to audiovisual requirements."

Once a planner is confident with the event support service provider, the next issue is quality, according to Grover.

"The first and foremost consideration should be the quality of the equipment a planner intends to rent," she says.

"Performance is the one thing that really matters when organising any event, thus, having the best quality equipment will guarantee peak performance of all components of the show and ensure its ultimate success."Another factor is cost, but another point to take into consideration is the range of equipment available and as Grover says, "any client would like to deal with a minimum number of vendors".

"We have designed our services to allow our clients to focus on more important things, leaving all the technical work to us.

"Our popular rental packages are inclusive of hassle-free delivery and pick-up of equipment," she adds.

Any client would like to deal with minimum number of vendors.

Some venues or companies may argue they can save money by buying their own equipment, rather than renting each time they host an event, but Grover says this may not be the case.

"The complexities related to buying, storing, managing, and maintaining various events equipments is certainly something any company can do without."

Grover adds that "outsourcing is actually more cost effective as companies don't have to invest heavily to buy equipment and later on worry about maintaining such assets, which could become white elephants".

A further advantage to outsourcing is the freedom to concentrate on other aspects of the event.

And, as Grover explains, this freedom "ultimately gives clients a boost in efficiency and productivity as they can focus on their core operations while being able to utilise the professional expertise of engineers and technicians".

However, it is not just the structural and AV considerations that often need to be outsourced.

Event support services can include those companies who provide gifts or transportation services and these also need to be taken into account.

Whether deciding on gifts, transportation or the five-metre high inflatable castle you are planning to put in the middle of a ballroom, outsourcing to an event support service can be a positive way of freeing your time to concentrate on the dynamics of your event.

Just remember, as soon as you outsource, you are involving a third party in the quality and eventual success or failure of your event.

But with thorough research, effective communication and a common goal, an event support service can help you create the special event that everyone will remember for all the right reasons.

Planners checklist

• Consider carefully what you need to outsource. Once you have decided, start to make a list of companies that provide those services in your region.

• Create a list of questions you want to ask the supplier. Remember to ask what services are included in the price. Do they operate and install the equipment? How modern is the equipment? Do they transport the equipment? Do they have relevant insurance? Can they give case studies and recommendations from previous events?

• Once outsourced, keep up lines of communication, particularly as the event approaches. This will allow time to source alternative solutions if there are any problems to deal with.

• Be specific and as detailed as possible when describing what services you require and what you expect from the supplier to avoid unwanted surprises.

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